From FlyGirls Creator Matia Karrell:

(L): Karrell's mother. (R): Massachusetts Women's Defense Corps in formation.

(L): Karrell's mother. (R): Massachusetts Women's Defense Corps in formation.

My interest in FlyGirls began when I discovered a photograph of my mother dressed in military uniform. It turns out she was part of the Massachusetts Women's Defense Corps, a group of women who volunteered as plane spotters during World War II. My search to learn about these women became a twenty-five year journey to uncover more about women in the military. That is when I discovered a group of women that I never knew existed--women who weren’t watching for planes, they were flying them.  United by their passion for flying, these women emerged from the turbulence of a changing America to answer their country’s call to “Free a Man to Fight.” They were the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP), and they accomplished something that had never been done before – ever.

If you did not know that over 1,000 American female pilots flew every type of plane for the Army Air Corps during WWII, then you’re not alone. I knew about Rosie the Riveter and Amelia Earhart, but I had never heard of the WASP before – not in history books and not in any war movie or television show. Yet, the images alone stand as testament that these women were confident, strong, determined, and yes, sexy in a Tarantino woman-warrior kind of way. How is it possible that the stories of these women’s bravery, courage and sacrifice, are not part of our heritage and culture?

FlyGirls will be one of the first television series to solely focus on America’s first female military pilots. It is, in the strictest sense, a World War II story set in the 1940’s era with which we are all familiar. But FlyGirls is much more than a sepia-toned war drama; it’s the true story of an extraordinary group of women swept up in the complex social and political changes of the 20th century; it’s the story of an unprecedented moment in our nation’s history and the women who wanted to be a part of it. At a time when most women could only imagine becoming a hairdresser, a teacher, or a waitress, these women pilots were driven by the need for a bigger purpose. They dared to become more, and the sky provided boundless space for their dreams to take flight.

The power of storytelling can be seen in some of the most memorable films and miniseries of the last 15 years: Band of Brothers (2001), Flags of our Fathers (2006), Red Tails (2012), Zero Dark Thirty (2012), and American Sniper (2014). What they have in common is memorable characters who are courageous and strong, flawed and scared. Narrative storytelling can humanize a time in history, making that era come alive for audiences. It is by experiencing the characters’ lives through their eyes that makes us cry, laugh, or even scream back at the screen. This is palpable storytelling. This is what I want for FlyGirls.